Archive for the ‘crime’ Category

The Great Things: 

My book got published – Yay! And did really well (what?) Sunday Times best seller, #1 in the Kindle charts – I have been encouraging nearly everyone I know to start writing a book. Having found out the secret to getting published and making all your publishing dreams come true is actually working really hard at it for years and years (who knew?) Seriously though, if you think you want to write a book – write the damn book!

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My second book got published! and also is doing well #1 Kindle – it has a super awesome cover. I’m hoping for a less food based cover for book number three as I just want cake whenever I look at the cover for ‘The Secret’ (funny the apple on the cover of the Teacher did not have this affect on me!)

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SO MUCH great TV – Between  Netflix exclusive ‘Stranger Things’, HBO’s ‘The Night Of’ and ‘Westworld’ – which are probably my three top favourites of the year – If you haven’t seen them – do!  Even the DC (CW) offerings of Arrow, Supergirl,  The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow have been good, (although not perfect through my hypercritical eye). As excited as i was for Luke Cage (Marvel) it just didn’t deliver for me for a multitude of reasons, most of all being that it should have been a great deal shorter because it was long and tedious. Some great performances but ultimately very disappointing.

The Night of was just phenomenal though, so so good. I don’t want to say too much about it for fear of spoilers – but John Turturro and Riz Ahmed both give fantastic performances.

I met so many great people, I got invited to go and see Michael Buble play at the Camden roundhouse as a treat from iBooks (he was SO good) – where I also met the lovely Lisa Hall and Louise Jensen. I must admit to avoiding most social gatherings as I hate ‘the outside’ (said in a similar tone to ‘the upside down’ for those of you that have seen Stranger things).

 

I run a tiny writing group locally and that’s pretty much my entire social life. I shall be doing a new one this year as well locally. Anything that gets me out of the house is a bonus, I must keep battling my inner agoraphobic.

I have booked Crimefest & Harrogate – and will be going to Bloody Scotland as well this year so I really need to get over myself!

The not so Great things:

Lets not forget the sleepwalking. Turns out that in the run up to publication I get really stressed and experience some bizarre side effects like doing weird shit in my sleep.  before The Teacher was released I took my new Karin Slaughter paperback book and ripped the first few pages home out and chucked it across the room in my sleep. I woke up in the morning slightly confused but vaguely remembering doing it. (it was a great book by the way – Pretty Girls). The weekend before The Secret was released I moved house. I had previously had some cream velvet curtains made up and they were folded nicely in a bag and in a crate, under another crate. In the morning all my covers were on the floor and I was wrapped in my brand new 7 foot long velvet curtains. Very strange.

I was invited out for drinks in London – to the Groucho club – so I planned on going into London for a few hours before to do some research. I got dressed up in the morning and did my hair, put my best make up on and going out clothes but my friend asked me to stop with her at the surgery and she would drop me off at the train station. I went with her to to docs and then as we were walking back to her car a young policeman kept staring at me, he was on a bike and kept circling back. I imagined I must either look pretty amazing or he knew I who I was (its happened, its a small town) ‘Can I help you?’ I asked  – ‘Whats your name?’ he asked me – ‘Katerina Diamond’ I responded ‘Why?’ – ‘Because you match the description of a lady who has escaped from a secure facility and is a danger to herself and others.’ –  Yeah. That really happened.

 

Whats next? 

Be more organised, be better at admin generally (so so bad at that) Drink more (no really) Read more! I have read 2 books this week and it feels amazing – but its not something I usually give myself time for. Write more – and be more organised about that as well. Work hard and play harder! Blog more!

I like a challenge, I particularly like a challenge when I watch TV. I like to not know everything that’s going to happen next. There have been things I have watched over the years that have truly shocked me, I like to be shocked – up to a point, there also has to be some kind of ‘hope’ at the end though. I really hate that feeling of futility after something really awful happens that there is no way back from. For example the deep fat fryer scene in spooks – that was too much. I literally stopped watching spooks after that – if it had been her hand, I probably could have coped – but her face in a fryer? No! that’s way too much, even for me.  I went back to spooks years after, after the entire show had finished and watched the rest.. I’m glad I did, it had some real moments of brilliance, especially with reference to Richard Armitage’s character and his motivations.

OZ

I go on about OZ a LOT. In terms of shock and awe it delivered in spades from episode to episode right from the very start. The series starts with Straight lawyer Tobias Beecher entering prison after killing a child while drunk driving – Oz Maximum security and being put in the experimental wing ‘EMERALD CITY’ – which – lets face it – isnt the greatest idea. Emerald city is a collection of glass rooms (cells) with slightly special privileges (but not really). When Beecher arrives he is targeted by the aryan Schillinger who warns him about his cell-mate – convincing Tobias to get moved into his cell with him, where he turns him into his ‘prag’ and burns a swastika into his buttock and systematically rapes him and humiliates him, trying to break him. Beechers psychological roller-coaster through the series is something to behold. This is the moment after the moment after he breaks – he fought back and blinded his rapist in the eye – now he is out of solitary…

Every episode has a moral or a story to tell, usually narrated in a semi beatnik/def poetry style.

I held my breath so many times during Oz, turned away many times, too. many of those times were thanks to Chris Meloni’s character Chris Keller – oh he was evil, but beautiful at the same time. This was a weird one for me as I didnt discover OZ until after I had seen many many episodes of Law and Order SVU – where Meloni is a righteous, catholic, alpha male and devoted husband and father. Keller is manipulative and you just never know what he’s going to do next – or what game he’s playing. He is like a walking hormone, too, can literally seduce anyone – evidenced by his manipulation of ‘Sister Pete’, the nun in the show.

There is a moment, when Keller has been working on Beecher for weeks, convincing him to trust him, bringing out feelings in Beecher that he didn’t know he could have for another man. There is a very homoerotic wrestling scene  (at 8 mins in the above video) that is full of tension, as we ‘the audience’ know that he is manipulating Beecher and watching Beecher fall for it is heartbreaking. But this is all just a prelude for whats to come. After Beecher finally admits his love for Keller and breaks his walls down again – then Keller reveals he is just doing it to repay a debt to Beecher’s nemesis the Aryan Schillinger – who he has been friends with for a long time. (8 mins in below video) this was a real *gasp* moment for me.

of course the joke is on Keller, because when Beecher realises his betrayal he is destroyed.  Keller breaks both Beechers arms and legs. After 3 months in the infirmary, terrified and broken he comes out completely cold again – and Keller has had some time to think- he  also realises that he was in love with Beecher and spends the rest of his time in Oz trying to prove his love for him. The love story that is Keller and Beecher is epic, and tragic, and never-ending. Til death do us part -baby!

Oz again actually the moment when poor old Miguel is caught between a rock and a hard place (Again!) He’s just got out of solitary where he literally went mental. His father was in prison, his grandfather was in prison, in solitary for 20 years. Its awful for Miguel and I really felt for his character. But basically the latin gang have told him unless he blinds one of the ‘hacks’ they are going to kill him. So he does it – and they put him in solitary – where he spends most of his time smearing himself in his own excrement.  Just thinking about Miguel makes me sad – his life was only ever going one way. *sniffles*

HANNIBAL 

I watched Hannibal like I watch everything else, in the background while I was writing. It was slow and moody and seemingly quite dull. Then suddenly something happened and I didn’t know what was going on but I knew I needed to find out – Rewind. I watched it again – got a few episodes in and then decided my husband might like it – Rewind again. Starting at the beginning again, in the evening, with the lights out my husband and I started watching the series from the start. I realised what I had been missing was some of the best dialogue I have ever heard, intelligent and witty interactions, also an intricately woven plot. The funny thing about Hannibal is that we all know how it ends (or at least those of us who have seen Manhunter, Red Dragon or The Silence of the lambs) – Psychologist/FBI Agent Will Graham will eventually outsmart the seemingly invincible Lecter. It was an interesting choice putting Mads in the role of Hannibal because of his accent, coupled with the moodiness of the show – sometimes you had to really concentrate to understand… but only at the start.

The real draw of the show for me was an emotionally and psychologically broken Will Graham (not entirely hampered by the fact that he is played by Hugh Dancy – ahem)  And the way he processes crime scenes in order to find the killer. He becomes the killer, sees, thinks and feels what the killer feels. More than that the horror of what is happening is tangible to him. With every case he is drawn deeper and deeper towards a kind of insanity, which he receives therapy for from Doctor Lecter. As time goes on Will becomes increasingly worried that he may be a murderer himself, that he is forgetting things he needs to remember. Its brilliant when it finally does all start making sense, I’ve literally got goosebumps just writing about it.

It was this scene below – in fact this episode that really caught my attention. I still get chills when i think about everything that’s going on here.  In the show they talk about how with fishing you have to lure the fish to you, most other animals you hunt.  Its the moment just after this, when Will takes the fish inside and cuts it open- the blood triggering something else for him that really piqued my interest. Its such a clever show. I dont even want to ruin it for you. Not for the feint hearted though. Its horrific!

Visually this is one of my favourite shows too. Its a work of art. Some very disturbing things happen and yet they don’t feel gruesome. I watched this after I had written my first draft – but you can see why I liked it.

Interestingly the moment in the movie HANNIBAL RISING when we see the birth of Hannibal is one of the most horrible things I remember – If you haven’t seen the movie, look away now – but basically he’s on a farm with his little sister and the soldiers cook and eat her, and feed her to him – which is how the cannibal was born. Something broke inside him and made him justify that with further acts of cannibalism. Oh gosh, that really turned my stomach.

Anyway here’s some gratuitous ‘Will Graham’ going crazy in his underpants footage. Mmmmmmmmm

I havent watched season 3 yet.

JUSTIFIED

I feel like Justified went under the radar a little. Where people raved about Breaking Bad and The Wire I rarely hear anyone mention Justified and for me its one of the best shows on TV (or it was before it finished). Although Timothy Olyphaunt’s performance as Raylan Givens is reminiscent of his role as Sheriff Bullock in the amazing show Deadwood there’s something incredibly cool about Raylan. I do like his ability to read a situation and his cool and collected menace. The other great thing about this show is Walton Goggins, who is a phenomenal actor, but although most people remember his role in The Sheild, he will always be Boyd Crowder the explosives expert and overall ‘bad guy’ of the show to me. The First series was great, with Raylans character pretty much carrying the whole show forward, as although the story was interesting, with some great hooky moments i wasnt totally Gripped. Givens is a Marshall who does something a bit  embarrassing to his district and so they ship him off back to his hometown in a Kentucky backwater.  His strained relationship with his father and his knowledge of the people and area all make for interesting confrontations as most of the characters are corrupt in one way or another.  Season 2 was when it really hit its stride for me, season 2 of Justified was one of the best complete seasons of television I have seen.

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The end of the opening episode of season 2 gave me serious goosebumps and was so cold. The quick run-down is the bad guy of season 2 is a sweet old lady with 4 boys who all peddle drugs and have some anger/intelligence issues. the old lady Mags kills a single father and then takes his daughter in to raise as her own.  The way she kills him is cold , slow and brutal, and the lies she tells after are even more calculated.  There are probably too many moments to list in Justified.  later on in season three there is a scene where a man draws his gun and before he has a chance to fire someone cuts his arm off. it comes as as much of a shock to the viewer as it does to the victim (who wholeheartedly deserves it)

Here are some scenes – mostly of the great dialogue in Justified.

PRIME SUSPECT (SEASON 1)

Anyone who remembers Prime suspect wont need me to explain what was so great about it. I did watch the American remake a few years later but I was not impressed with it.  They missed the point by a LONG shot.  I’ve re-watched the first season many times. In a lot of ways it was way ahead of its time. Helen Mirren as Jane Tennison definitely leant a certain amount of gravitas to the role. It was bleak, it was gritty, it was dark and it tackled the idea of what it means to be a monster. The show really played with our expectations – I know the first time I watched it I thought that the police had it wrong, that they were persecuting George Marlow unfairly and that Tennison’s obsession was affecting her judgement.

The moment when shes interviewing Moyra Henson, the girlfriend (played  by Zoe Wanamaker) and gets her to believe that maybe her boyfriend is lying and then breaks his alibi is brilliant. I found it chilling the way she stuck up for her boyfriend like that, even knowing in her heart that he had done it.  I was Fifteen the first time I saw this and every time I have watched it since its like watching something brilliant and new. The gruesome nature of the crimes was a new thing for a TV show, too. I would go as far as to say the recent trend of Scandinavian Dramas all have a lot in common with Prime suspect. Aside from the great characters, great plot and great dialogue there is a visual feel that corresponds with reality, its something we can relate to, its real, its something that could happen.

SOUTHLAND

Southland was another under the radar show, although this time it was really under the radar. It was cancelled, brought back by fan petition TWICE and then finally ended after season 5. Strange it didn’t do so well because its one of the better police procedurals I have seen in recent years. Again I like a show where I feel like I am being taught some kind of moral lesson. Each episode would follow several characters and some how each of their stories would demonstrate some kind of shared philosophy .

There were several gripping moments to me in Southland, and it really was a character driven show, which I also like. As well as being visually different. It was formulaic but it was blatant about it, and it was poetically formulaic, so I didn’t mind it so much. Filmed like a fly on the wall documentary for the most part, it has a realism to it. Although most of the actors are familiar faces.

One of the police – officer Cooper is hiding his homosexuality at the beginning of the series, but he comes out at some point. His partner and long term friend has major homophobia and serious issues working with him and the gay jokes are aplenty but for the most part, his team are ok with it, its not as bad as he thought. In the final season Cooper and his partner Lucero are investigating a very ordinary regular traffic crime when they are taken by 2 crack-heads and taken back to some ramshackle building in what seems to be the middle of nowhere. They are bound for days, attacked and after a while sexually violated by their captors. The whole double episode where this takes place made me physically sick, it was harrowing for so many reasons. The idea that A gay man – watches helplessly as his partner – who up until recently was very close to him (and knowing full well how he feels about homosexual acts) – is basically raped by two crackheads. Also from the victims point of view, having a close friend watch as you are attacked – and then summarily murdered.  Cooper manages to escape but to say that this ordeal adds to his eventual demise is an understatement.

 

In SUMMARY

I like cop shows, I like the idea of a flawed authority – I like the human side of the law, the side that makes mistakes. how people deal with those mistakes – self recriminations and self loathing that come from making decisions in a position of authority. I could talk about shows like Game of Thrones that are literally made to shock, but in all honesty – because of the ‘fantasy’ aspect it doesnt hit me in the same way. The same with the Walking dead, which I love, possibly one of my favourite current shows. Because of the Zombie element I cant empathise in the same way. Like I said, I like both of those shows.

There is one exception to the fantasy rule.

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (Remake)

I’m still angry about the way Battlestar Galactica ended. I didn’t sleep because I needed to get to the end and when I did the disappointment in one element of the story was so deep and personal that I figured I must have really loved the show to have been that bothered.

I only got round to watching this last year, and I watched all 5 seasons in a ridiculously short amount of time, I cried, I laughed, i got angry and in places I was blown away by the storytelling. It may all have been some kind of psychosis induced by lack of sleep – but judging by the things I have heard from other people – its not – its actually a good show.

Now I like Sci-Fi – when its done right its excellent. But in all honesty I would prefer a thriller.

There’s a song in the show, it comes and goes in pieces and you almost dont notice its ever-presence through the story. Battlestar Galactica is a space ship that protects the fleet of ships where the remaining inhabitants of earth, the last humans are kept. Its too intricate and involved to get into – in terms of twisty turny stories its got a lot happening. There are humans and there are cylons – robotty things – and then there are special cylons who look just like humans – all the cylons look the same, or so we are lead to believe at the start. in fact they all look like SIX  – her story is intertwined with sex obsessed Gaius Balthar – the scientist who caused the apocalypse – he sees her in his imagination – sometimes she’s real – sometimes she isn’t – its a real headfuck!

The moment when we learn the real meaning of the song in the background I think I literally exclaimed out loud – WHAT THE HELL?! so brilliant – I dont want to spoil it for anyone but the song is all along the watchtower by Jimi Hendrix and there’s a moment when it kicks in and the whole plot of everything that’s gone before falls into place – its incredible! I almost wanted to start again from the beginning and look for all the clues, my mind was totally blown, its a great feeling.

 

Even though this is such a key relationship in the show, most of the time its not even real, its Guyus guilt for practically exterminating the human race.

Starbuck and Apollo – I loved the strength of Starbuck, she was badass, made no apologies for who she was, knew she was flawed and just carried on regardless. Apollo was constantly trying to prove himself to his father and to Starbuck, who started out as his brothers girlfriend back on earth – his brother who died – so she was always kind of off limits. At this point I am going to say that these characters are always at the forefront of my mind when i am writing a love story, or a sex scene. The unresolved nature of their relationship just makes me cross and I think I’m always trying to find that happy ending for them (no pun intended). – Ds Imogen Grey has definitely got a bit of Starbuck in her. (even though I had already finished writing the The Teacher before I watched the show – but in book 2 I definitely would have factored Starbuck into the equation.)

This scene where they fight was so beautiful and romantic – even though they are beating the crap out of each other. they are so angry, so in love, so in hate. resentment, wanting – everything. She married someone else – with no warning very soon after declaring her love for him – so he married someone else to get back at her – years not even talking and then they get in the ring together. Their husband and wife standing ringside and basically watch their own marriages fall to pieces as Starbuck and Apollo connect again. but not for long (damn you BG writers!!!) – unfortunately the scene is no longer available – but its awesome

 

I’ll think of some more and I’ll write another post like this at some point –

Until next time

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a long overdue blog post about things that have been happening with me. The unexpected side of being a published author – both positive and negative.

First of all this may seem like I am complaining – I absolutely am not complaining! I have been so happy lately I’m beginning to wonder if I can drag my mind back down to the depths I need to go to in order to finish the second book… I’m sure I will manage!

Getting Lucky

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So I ‘got lucky’ and got published. Suddenly I find myself on a ‘side’ – I didn’t know there were sides! I am very naive when it comes to the politics of these things because all I have done is keep my head down and write. I have faced a little resentment from a couple of people, probably because I seemingly came out of nowhere, because I got lucky and published my first book which then rocketed into the charts and has been doing steadily ever since. Its taken me a while to crack this writing malarkey and I have had my fair share of rejection – but I changed what I was writing and tried to get better every time, if you learn from rejection its not quite so bad! So being jealous or resentful because I am not out marketing myself at every turn, being annoyed that this is some kind of cake walk for me- is rather silly because it was not an easy path – yes the last year has been utterly phenomenal – but it took me a long time to get there. I really haven’t just walked into this, its been my dream for most of my adult life.

Overcoming Shyness

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Getting over my crippling shyness – this has been the biggest obstacle for me. Both in writing and in self promotion I am very secretive and ‘closed’ and so it took me a long time to send off for an agent, it took me a long time to have enough belief in myself to do that. I have had to let it go a little and just trust that other people who know what they are doing believe in me and so I should stop trying to self sabotage and start behaving like an author would (whatever that means!} The anxiety I first felt of how peoples perception of me would change after they had read my book is mostly gone now. I don’t think its something that will ever truly go as its such a private thing. If a little bit of your soul doesn’t go into everything you write then you just end up with a hollow mash of well constructed sentences. I personally think its important to write what’s uncomfortable. Write the dark things because those are the thoughts that people latch onto and identify with.

Getting reviews!

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Reviews! Getting reviews for my book has been both amazing and challenging at times. I have had a lot of 5 star reviews – over 200 now (over 300 4/5*) which I am stunned by. You see I wrote the book that I thought I would enjoy to read, and its nice to see so many other people enjoyed it too. I have around 50 one star reviews – either I’m pretentious or my grammar is so appalling they couldn’t possibly get past it! Some of the other less favourable reviews have mentioned my use of the word saline – instead of tears – my mother also mentioned this to me. Its not something that I would get my knickers in a twist over if I read it in someone else’s work but point taken, I wont use it again! Also my daughter is obsessed with my use of the word wainscotting, because apparently no one knows what that is. I know I should be grateful to even have reviews – and believe me – I am! I have learned to laugh at some of my reviews, especially one who referred to me as Katerina DIEmond (in exactly that way!) and try and take some pointers for the future from others. I am not averse to constructive criticism (as long as I agree with it!). Still hard to read a dismissive review when you have spent literally YEARS working on something. Dont even get me started on reviews with spoilers in them!!! grrrr!

Meeting great People!

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I have met some great people since being published – this is possibly partly due to the fact that I feel I have the right to call myself an author now, instead of muttering that I like to write stories – which people just don’t get or take seriously. Being a published author gives me a feeling of legitimacy. I think generally I have been more open to new friendships. The support I have received from other writers is just brilliant. I have so many questions all the time which must make me seem like I have been living under a rock for my entire life. For the most part I have been quite moved by the support and sense of community I am experiencing. Also the book bloggers (who I didn’t know existed) have been so supportive as well – some have even become friends. As mentioned before there are a couple of people who I sense some deep resentment from but I see that as their issue and not mine as almost everyone else has been great. I have had one person get the hump with me for not promoting their book online but the fact is, I barely like promoting my own book – I certainly don’t want to promote something that I haven’t read. I don’t mind retweeting things that other people ask me to retweet – but I feel newly constructed or written tweets should be FROM me, about things I want to say or feel passionate about! The marketing side of things does my head in a little bit, I am so pleased I am not in charge of that myself. I really admire anyone who has the ability to both write great books and market themselves successfully without being pushy and in your face – that would be my main concern! I absolutely LOATHE clickbait and couldn’t bring myself to post any – even when I repost clickbait I put a synopsis in my post! it just seems so damn dishonest!

Having a great Agent and Publishers.

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I was a total novice and this is where I truly believe I did get lucky. My agent Diane Banks saw something in my book that she liked. My publishers Avon felt the same way. I sent off to a few Agents, and my Agent sent off to a few publishers for me to have landed with the team of people that I did was incredibly good luck on my part. I get warm squishy feelings about all of them (and I am not a warm squishy person). I think this was the best possible outcome for me – on all fronts! I think it shows in both my sales and the great working partnership I feel I have with both my previous editor and my new one. I have heard so many horror stories from other writers about shocking behaviour from both agents and publishers I didn’t realise it could be so bad! I would be utterly USELESS as a self published author, I probably would have sold about 12 books by now, and that’s even less impressive when you consider the size of my family alone. As it stands I have been in the Sunday Times Best Seller list 3 weeks in a row (what??!!) and I was a number one kindle best seller (??!!) I’m still holding into the top 5 on kindle although I feel that’s about to change as some great titles are being released over the next couple of weeks. My book will also start moving internationally soon and that’s just amazing, too.

Being a success!

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Well I always said I was more afraid of success than I was of failure. Its a new feeling but its a nice feeling. The main thing I am noticing is that the hard work has just begun. I had my own time and pace to get my foot through the door but now its there I have more books to write and actual deadlines instead of self imposed ones. I have had so many people ask me when the second book is coming out, its such a great feeling. I am so excited for the next few years of my life. I’m also so grateful to everyone who has been so incredibly nice to me. I was feeling a little fragile on entry into the world of being an author – on publication day I came down with the flu and was in bed for 4 days! intermittently tweeting a gif between naps through my fever.

Anyway – I’m on holiday at the moment so its back to the pool for me!

live long and prosper!

Well silly things inspire me. Sometimes it can be a music video, sometimes it can be a movie, or a tiny bit of dialogue. The mood of things is often inspirational to me. Trying to recreate a mood or a feeling for other people.

I’ll be the first to admit that I can be a little dark, for this reason I tend to gravitate towards slightly darker themes, both in music and films. I am also quite inspired by romance, not big gestures but small intimate romantic moments. I am a hopeless romantic trapped inside the mind of a slightly disturbed and over-active imagination.

I was asked to write a blog on music that inspired me while I was writing my book.I do listen to music when I write, a lot of other writers I have spoken to were horrified by this notion. How can you listen to lyrics? I also explained I sometimes watch TV while i am writing. Sometimes I do need to switch everything off but usually have something going on in the background.

So each one of my characters usually has a song that fits them, for me – usually based on mood – lyrics – feelings etc.

Between the Bars – Madeleine Peyroux

This song has always been a favourite of mine, moreover this particular cover of it. The original recording was by Elliott smith. I always thought of it as purely a love song until I met one of my main characters then it took on a whole new meaning. suddenly the lyrics were sung from the point of view of that destructive voice in your head that constantly reminds you who you are, deep down; coaxing you to stay the same as you have always been, never to improve yourself because you cant escape who you really are. That the only thing you can really trust is that you will fail at some point, its inescapable.

 

Pretty when you cry – VAST

Well this is a tricky song, but its beautiful in its own way. For me it explores the idea that somehow someone elses actions towards you can be your fault, as though you are forcing them to behave a certain way just because of who you are. Of course we all know this is nonsense, but that’s the delusion some predatory people have. It also makes me think of the overwhelming urge in some people to possess, violate and control something pure and innocent, because of their inability to be a human being. Of course by doing that you lose interest in them, you take away the thing you wanted and suddenly you don’t want them anymore. The hypnotic beat and monotone matter-of-factness of the vocalist adds to the mood of the predator – “This is all your fault you know, if you weren’t so vulnerable then I wouldn’t be forced to take advantage of that…”

 

Change (in the house of flies) – Deftones 

Possibly my favourite song ever anyway. But the theme of this is what gets me – again – the compulsion to make something ugly, to take away that which makes it beautiful. The need to witness that destruction. To essentially make something as ugly as you. Both physically and metaphorically.  Also a part of yourself hating that you have this inside you. Then replaying the guilt of your actions and waiting for the repercussions; wanting them. For me this fits several of my “victims” who have created the “ugly fly”.

 

Say it Right – Nelly Furtado 

I don’t know what the official meaning of this song is but for me it speaks to one of the most important relationships in this book. Which is two broken people who need each other, but are afraid to admit it. Its more of a feeling than the lyrics. The hesitant building of a relationship and that knowledge that this could be IT, the big one, the forever relationship. Also the understanding that if you both accept this is really happening that everything will change. That you can save each other. Also I think its about laying it all out there and saying “Look – I’m fucked up – are you SURE you want some of this? Because once you do there is no going back…”

 

Made of Scars – Stonesour

scar tissue is stronger than regular skin. This makes me think of a  survivor, someone who has been scarred in lots of different ways but still refuses to be a victim. Remember your past, use it to become a stronger person. Also the idea that everything that happens in our life shapes who we become.

 

46&2 – Tool 

OK, without going into the Jungian 46&2 theory  (look it up, its interesting) For me this song perfectly sums up the need to move on and the willingness to do whatever it takes to get there. Its sinister and sexy in the way it sounds (to me anyway) and that adds to the drama of it. The idea of picking your scabs (obviously these are mental scabs) but it has to be done in order to “shed the skin”. Rebirth through cleansing, confronting the things about yourself that need to be addressed before you can have a new life. Its about making the decision to move forward with your life but knowing there is no easy way to do that, that in order to do that you have to clean out the darkness and sometimes that means becoming the darkness. Being aware of every part of you so that you can get rid of the parts you don’t want anymore.

 

Exile – Show of Hands 

A beautiful song written by Steve Knightley. I spent a lot of time at folk festivals when I was a teenager, I saw this band a few times although this is not my video. This song was one of my favourites. It took on a new meaning for me after writing this book. Metaphorically it represents the loss of an important relationship  within the book. How one event that takes place immediately estranges one of the female protagonists and that suddenly she’s all alone. For me its about the father/daughter relationship that is suddenly impossible.

 

 

Bring me to Life – Evanescence

To be really seen by someone, to realise that as lost and alone you are that there is someone else who can reach you and accepting that you can come back from the brink of darkness. That your whole life is a prelude to meeting this person and that when you connect you will both be alive again. Even though that’s almost a literal interpretation of the lyrics   its a passionate song – begging to be saved – from yourself and the choices you have made, from staying hidden, from making yourself invisible. There are a couple of invisibles in the book and in a way the book is largely about when they ‘wake up’

 

How to disappear completely – Radiohead 

Firstly, the amount of Radiohead songs I could have included in this list isnt even funny. I personally find their music very evocative and moody, not just lyrically but melodically too. I picked this one because its just lovely. I think the lyrics speak for themselves and require no explanation. To me it sounds like a mantra you would say when you close your eyes, when something so terrible is happening that you need to take yourself out of that situation at least mentally.

 

Animal I have become –  Three Days Grace 

Again this idea that who you are is inevitable, that you have become something so vile that you are beyond saving, but so desperate for someone to save you and make you better even if you don’t believe its possible. Compulsion to do bad things because you are filled with rage and hate ; knowing what you are doing is wrong but being unable to do anything differently.  “Help me believe its not the real me” is probably one of the most important lyrics in the song for me – because thats the last link to humanity, the wanting to be better, just needing that validation is the reason  you aren’t totally bad, the moment you stop needing it is the moment you are lost.

 

Prosthetics – Slipknot (Explicit Lyrics)

Ok this is a dark one. Its heavy too. The first time I heard this it made me feel a bit sick (so naturally I love it!). From the perspective of a predator/stalker. I think its the collaborative nature of the lyrics that get me in this song. As though this stalking behaviour is somehow an agreement between two people. I feel as though this ‘relationship’ is something I have tried to recreate within the novel. As though Predator and Prey are both in it together, they know their roles. Also that sense of blame, as though the victim has created this scenario “You brought it outta me” – Aside from the lyrics I find the music itself quite desperate and harrowing.

 

Uninvited – Alanis Morissette

Falling in love is hard, especially when you are happy in your little bubble of loneliness, when you have written yourself off as someone who is unlovable. This song probably has more relevance to my second novel, although after reading the second novel certain things in the first novel will take on more significance (confused?!)  As someone who has read both I can tell you that this is happening in the first one although we don’t know that yet… Falling in love with someone unsuitable is also hard – it reinforces for me the idea that you just cant control that stuff!

 

 

 

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That’ll do for now I think but there are plenty more – maybe I’ll add more description after the book is released – struggling not to give you spoilers!

Until next time…

 

 

 

 

 

I watch a lot of television. I try at least to watch any drama show that has been renewed for a second season – my reasoning is this – these shows must have something that keeps the audience coming back.

I don’t know about you but when i do anything I am analysing it from the perspective of how it would work in a book or a screenplay, every. single. interaction. I am no more critical than when i read (or watch) other peoples work. Not to pull it apart to find the flaws, but to find the gems in it, the things that make me FEEL something.

It occurs to me in life that I am a voyeur, constantly evaluating and interpreting life in a way that I can translate what I have learned to other people, through my writing.

Sometimes if i am honest I just don’t get it, some TV shows have me baffled, without naming any names, I just don’t understand the appeal.

I like action movies, I like the simplicity of them (although I could never write one, i would be out of my depth) – and sometimes the things that look the simplest are actually the hardest things to pull off. Its a true talent that, making something look simple – and i don’t mean making something look like you wrote it in one go and then made it in one go, I’m talking about something so well put together that you don’t even really notice how its put together. (I know what i mean)

What i like the most is the subtlety of thought that is brought out in me – something that challenges what i believe about myself – something that i think i have always believed – to be forced to question myself.

Something else I like is revenge, revenge is sexy, no matter how long it takes, to see the balance restored is something that’s very appealing to me. One of my favourite Tv shows of all time is OZ – I faced a lot of personal moral dilemmas when watching that one. To feel sorry for the bad guys, to see a hierarchy of bad guys and wondering who is the worst, and realising how easy it is to forgive and empathise with someone who you once hated. my favourite character in this series was Ryan O Reilly, played by dean winters, who , aside from having the sexiest voice in the history of voices, is a truly excellent actor as the manipulative addict  in this scene that im about to show you Ryan is talking to Patrick, a fellow irishman in prison – he knows that patrick has raped the prison doctor, a woman that ryan is absolutely obsessed with, because its something to do, but he does it wholeheartedly and without condition, she is seriously creeped out by him. Ryan doesnt get his hands dirty he manipulates until he gets what he wants, thats why this scene was so striking and sexy – and why its probably one of my favourite tv moments ever. (link below)

Ill talk more in other posts about other tv moments i like – but that one gets me every time.

Until next time

For me what can make or break a novel is the feeling that the author has a firm grasp on the underlying facts, its not necessary for them to impart every single fact they know to me, but the ones relevant to the story.

In crime this is particularly true (as with historical fiction, although i personally wouldn’t attempt to write historical fiction without getting a degree in the era of my choosing).

The way it works for me is that i get an idea, and then i think – hmmm I should look into that, then probably spend a few days looking into it, until I have a fairly rounded idea of the basics of it – in UNKINDNESS i came across plenty of ideas that needed to be researched, as I had a slight historical element to the story. You can get by like this for most things that you are merely touching on. i had to do a lot of research into instruments of torture, from various countries – the unpleasantness of looking at photos and really understanding the devices before i could write about them. youtube is also a great resource when it comes to research, as often a documentary is easier to go in than reading articles, although i tend to flood myself with information from various source – in this day and age there really is no excuse for not knowing you stuff.

Then there is the Police procedure of the crime novel, as usually thats an element that needs to be touched upon, you can blag it to a certain extent, but only after you have done a serious amount of research – I purchased a book on police procedure, written by a former police officer specifically for crime writers (link below) . I then read the book cover to cover – even after I had read it i felt like I needed a more tangible idea of what was going on – so i watched a lot of british police shows, it helped me really get my head around the structure of the departments and the hierarchy and where my characters fitted in. It takes a while for me to “get” things but once i do its in there.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Crime-Writers-Police-Practice-Procedure/dp/0709086318/ref=pd_bxgy_14_img_y

The other thing watching the shows did for me was make me realise how much i wanted to include in the actual story, I read a fair amount of crime novels too and sometimes I find I get bogged down in the intricacies of the police force, and some things I really didn’t need to know.

The thing about research is not just knowing what to include, its knowing as well what you don’t need in there.

I probably spend at least the same amount of time researching as i do writing.

Well, I haven’t touched this Blog for quite some time and I have been completely immersed in my own world. To say i have been writing would be a lie, I had some intense writers block almost since christmas. Stopping for any kind of prolonged break seems to pull me out of the moment and I have to force myself back into it.

To get back into it i read my own words, over and over until something sparks and I see a change i need to make, after the first 10 or so ideas it starts to come easier, but I must keep the momentum going or i lose the thread again.

It seems ridiculous to be able to write 45,000 words of a crime fiction novel, not only without any significant deaths, but also without any real idea about the killer or the motivations of the killer. I guess there is maybe some part of me that feels if it comes easy to me then it will be easy to figure out for any crime reader. Although my primary goal is to fool the characters in the book and not my audience, but there does indeed need to be some mystery there. So finally i worked out who my murderer is, and its a good feeling because everything else is falling into place, the words I have already said have taken on new meaning, which is also exciting (for me at least). As i have said before many times – I like my men like I like my biscuits : broken.

I create a spreadsheet and divide the cells into chapters, protagonist for each chapter, what they need to learn and what the audience needs to learn that they dont. I also suggest things to myself that maybe need to be included, hints at things to come etc. I also have a predicted wordcount for each chapter and actual wordcount, all tallied at the bottom and against each other so that i can see what needs fleshing out, what needs trimming down and how much I have left to do. My bizarre mathematical way of writing seems to help, my inability to finish  ANYTHING is hampered by the system I have engaged. a complex excel spreadsheet and lots of maths – which would seem to have no place in creative writing, but seeing the numbers go down , not only helps me when it comes to knowing how long each chapter should be, but how long i have to impart certain information and which phases go where. I guess I need to be organised in my mind or nothing works. Its possible this comes from my brief (not so brief) foray into screenwriting, where scenes and sequences are everything.

I have a few minor adjustments to make to my first novel UNKINDNESS and then i can continue with this next novel, about human trafficking, a subject which horrifies and disgusts me. I guess thats a part of the key too, find something you feel passionate about, something you want to relay your thoughts on.

until next time

Kat 🙂